Service Tips

Fire Prevention

The 2014 National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) National Fire Prevention Week is October 5 – 11.  This year’s theme is: “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives.”  Below are some fast facts on fire prevention and workplace safety from the Department of Administrative Services (DOAS) Risk Management Services Division.

SMOKE ALARMS:

  • Smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a reported fire in half.
  • Roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.  About one in five smoke alarm failures was due to dead batteries.
  • In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 91% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated only 75% of the time.
  • In more than half of the reported home fires in which the smoke alarms were present, but did not operate even though the fire was large enough, batteries were missing or disconnected. Nuisance alarms were the leading reason for disconnected alarms.
  • More than half of the smoke alarms found in reported fires and two-thirds of the alarms  found in homes with fire deaths were powered by battery only.
  • Interconnected smoke alarms on all floors increase safety.

ESCAPE PLANNING:

  • Almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan; however, less than half actually practice it.
  • One-third of Americans’ households who made an escape plan thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. The time available is often less. Only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!

CAUSES OF FIRE:

  • Cooking is the #1 cause of home fires and injuries.
  • Smoke inhalation is the leading cause of fire deaths.
  • Heating is the second leading cause of home fires, fire deaths and fire injuries.
  • 53% of home electrical fires involved other known types of equipment, including ranges, washers/dryers, fans and space heaters.

Let’s work together to make Georgia a safer place to work! 

Reducing Strain and Sprain Injuries on the Job

Strains and sprains accounted for more than 15% of Fiscal Year 2014 injuries in state government. If you include falls, slips and trips, 40% of injuries are related to strains and sprains. Nationally, the numbers are about the same, where 39% of injuries are sprains or strains.

Common causes for sprains and strains are falls, twisting an arm or leg, sports injuries and over-exertion. Both sprains and strains result in pain and swelling. The amount of pain and swelling depends on the extent of the damage.

SPRAINS result from overstretching or tearing a ligament, tendon, or muscle. Ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect bones. Tendons are tissues that attach a muscle to a bone.

STRAINS occur when a muscle or tendon is overstretched or over-exerted.

Simple measures can prevent many sprains and strains. General safety measures to prevent slips and falls include proper lighting, handrails on both sides of stairways, keeping stairways and traffic areas clear of clutter and using adhesive-backed strips in baths and showers.

Many sprains and strains result from sports injuries. Be sure to wear proper fitting shoes that provide shock absorption and stability. Wear shoes designed for the sports activity you are playing. Don’t overdo it. If muscles or joints start to hurt, ease up. Do warm-up exercises to stretch the muscles before your activity, whether vigorous or not. Always ease into any exercise program and go through a cool down period afterward. These same issues apply when you are doing your daily work activities.

TREATMENT depends on the extent of the damage. Self-help measures may be all that are needed for mild injuries. At the first sign of a sprain or strain, stop what you’re doing and apply RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. By following this simple formula, you can avoid further injury and speed recovery.
REST the injured area.
ICE or cold packs should be applied immediately. Do this for up to 48 to 72 hours after the injury. After 48-72 hours, applying heat may bring additional relief.
COMPRESS the area by wrapping it (not too tightly) with an elastic wrap. Begin wrapping from the point farthest from the heart and wrap toward the center of the body. Loosen the bandage if it gets too tight.
ELEVATE the injured area higher than the heart. Do this even while you are applying the ice or cold pack as well as when you sleep.
• You may take ibuprofen for pain and inflammation if you don’t have sensitivity to the medicine or a history of ulcers. Read and follow directions carefully. Not all people should take these medicines. Always take with food or milk to prevent stomach irritation.
• Remove rings immediately if you have a sprained finger or other part of your hand.
• Use crutches to speed the healing process for a badly sprained ankle. They will help you avoid putting weight on the ankle, which could cause further damage.

Severe sprains may require medical treatment. Some require a cast. If the tissue affected is torn you may need surgery. See your health care professional if the sprain or strain does not improve after four or five days of self-care procedures.

Reducing the Risk of Manual Material Handling

Back injuries account for one of every five injuries or illnesses in the workplace.  Around 80% of these injuries occur to the lower back and are associated with manual material handling tasks. Oftentimes we get drawn into the “let’s get ’er done” attitude with many material handling tasks. The work does need to be completed, but taking a couple of seconds to determine the best way to do the job may prevent weeks of back pain.

When you lift…

- DO -
Plant your feet firmly – get a stable base
Keep the load close to your body
Bend at your knees – not your waist
Tighten your abdominal muscles to support your back
Keep your back upright – keep it in its natural posture
Use your leg muscles as you lift
Get a good grip – use both hands
Lift steadily and smoothly without jerking
Breathe. If you must hold your breath to lift it, then it is too heavy

- DO NOT -
Lift from the floor
Lift loads across obstacles
Twist and lift
Lift from an uncomfortable posture
Fight to recover a dropped object
Lift with one hand (unbalanced)
Lift while reaching or stretching
Hold your breath while lifting – Get Help

Begin each material handling task with the end in mind:  Where are you going to move it? Do you have a good grip? Is there a clear path?

Let’s work together to make Georgia a safer place to work!

Workplace Safety Tips From DOAS Risk Management Services